Ganpatipule

If you long to loll lazily on a beach, lapping up the lovely scene, sinking into the limpid waters, sans the annoying cacophony of humans and the din of vehicles, then Ganpatipule is the place for you!

 
And you have the whole beach to yourself too, what with the crowd spread out evenly, lending you enough privacy & elbow space.

Some beaches around the place are so pristine with no human in sight, that you’d wonder if you indeed are in India! A few quaint temples dotting the landscape add to the serenity. A vacation in balmy Ganpatipule, certainly makes for an idyllic getaway from Mumbai.  
Weary, sleepy and famished after an eventful overnight train trip, we landed in Ratnagiri Station and headed straight for our MTDC accommodation.

The drive on tarred deserted roads flanked by shady trees swaying gently in the morning breeze served as a prelude to what was to come. The red earth was a reminder of the fecundity of the Konkan strip. 

The MTDC Resorts, nestled in the shade of coconut palms and other trees, seemed to be the quintessence of a beach holiday resort. 

 

The rooms facing the seaside were roomy & opened up to into an equally spacious balcony offering a seamless glimpse of the seashore! The constant susurration seemed a far cry from what we were used to & hence comforting too.

 

 

Mid-afternoon saw us visiting some quaint temples cocooned in picturesque hamlets. A long drive and a jetty ride took us to the other side where lay a few old shrines.

 

 
VELNESHWAR TEMPLE
 
Velneshwar Temple whose presiding deity is Lord Shiva lies ensconced in the sleepy village of Velneshwar.
 
With absolutely no grandeur cloaking them, the temple vibes spelt nothing but austerity. The odour within, soaked us in its familiar coziness and the immediate coolness cosseting us from the sweltering sun outside, offered the cool comfort that only old shrines can boast of!
 
The dankness was definitely a welcome, very rarely found in plush urban temples, which mostly reek of perfume and human sweat.
With only the temple priest and a few visitors, the silence was shattered by just an occasional tinkling of bells. 
 
However, the most striking thing was the way the idols were adorned with flowers. Unlike the heaps of flowers strewn by ardent devotees seeking clemency and inadvertently concealing the idol in the process, this aesthetic floral array spoke of floral garnishing done by a grateful heart with the sole intention of beautifying the stony form of the Almighty.
     

 


Temple Courtyard


This olden day courtyard was swept clean of any traces of fallen leaves and obviously the nonexistence of tourists meant no litter! 

The evening saw us take a peek into the old, dilapidated Jaigad Fort, whose remnants echo of a weary past. 

JAIGAD FORT
 
 
I’m sure many filmy shots would have captured the essence of the fort. And yes, that made the ramparts the perfect setting for an interesting photo-shoot. 
Located at one end of the Sangameshwar River, the fort offers some spectacular views of the sea.
 
Day-2
In no mood to travel, my son and I just opted for an Ayurvedic massage, with the rest of the family having gone to explore the rest of Ratnagiri.
The massage center was just a basic quarter but the work was exemplary!
 
Day-3
 
Swayambu Ganpati Temple
 
A visit to Ganpatipule is never complete without a visit to the land’s presiding deity -Lord Ganesha, after whom the place is named!
 
This shore temple believed to be existing for 4000 years, has the sea-waves lashing its precincts and an early morning visit is most befitting.
Rain clouds began to sprinkle their contents and this is when my umbrella came to our rescue. We drove along winding paths and our next halt was at Kavi Keshav Sooth’s Museum in Malgund.
Ancient Marathi Poet Kavi Keshav Sooth’s birth place is a humble abode, which would literally transport you to another era! 
 
As we entered this antiquated dwelling, it seemed as if time had stopped still!
 
My thoughts spiralled down to my maternal and paternal houses in South India. The steps leading to the abode, the mud floor, the chambers within, the curios and the poet’s works cast a rare spell. Imagine what it would be to have been born in that era!


We were led into the room in which the poet was born. Among some of the treasures of a bygone era, were utensils and other paraphernalia used by the residents then, and preserved and exhibited now!

Adjoining the home, is a library built in contemporary style, showcasing books written by the esteemed poet and other eminent poets and writers. 
 
We then drove to a nearby aquarium which houses a fine collection of fish in myriad hues and shapes. It’s worth a visit especially if you have little children and the visit won’t take more than half an hour.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Seashells in various hues and shapes
 
Pracheen Kokan
 
Pracheen Kokan is certainly a ‘must see’. A ‘make believe’ thematic representation of ancient village life, the miens depicting fisher folk, potters, blacksmiths, farmers et al, all replete with their tools, spring forth to life!

 

Miniature Layout of Pracheen Kokan
The place perched atop a hill is swathed in verdure and the vegetation abounding here would make you wonder if ‘Global Warming’ was indeed being blown out of proportion!
 
A Lovely Hibiscus Blossom Stooping Low to Catch Human Attention
A Towering Observatory made of Logs
Children and adults were both found scurrying atop the ladder to behold the panoramic views the place promises..
A figurine of a boatman ferrying across
 
Now for the interesting part-While most of us know that Sage Parashurama the warrior in one of the 10 Avatars is closely associated with Kerala, we may not know that it was He who reclaimed the sea to form the Western Coastal strip, which includes Konkan!
 
Konkan is also known as ‘Parashurama Bhoomi’ it seems.. 

To commemorate the Sage, Pracheen Konkan has a statue erected here!

Lote Parashuram Temple is very close by, but unfortunately I had preferred the massage to the visit..
A den and a deer in the woods! You got to see to believe 😉
 
 
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on a boat!
 
The mud house of yore, the statues of which reflect bygone times
 
A cave temple housing a Shiv Linga lends a serene atmosphere to the already scenic and sylvan surroundings. Stark, except for the Shiv Linga adorned neatly with flowers plucked from nearby trees and shrubs, divinity and tranquility seemed to have invaded the space suddenly, quelling our curiosity to explore further! 
The musty dankness within was so comforting that it entailed a deep and blissful communion with the Lord!
 
Another interesting feature is a patch of garden with herbs and shrubs pertaining to the 12 zodiac signs!

Within are shops selling handicrafts, jams, jellies, juices and pickles. Kokum and mango flavours are common along with of course lime and strawberry. This is where I discovered the herbal brand called ‘Holy Lama’ which has soaps, perfumes, oil, green tea, detergents, creams et al. Exuding exotic scents, these also make for a pretty gift hamper. And it was later that I discovered that the brand has its outlet in Mumbai too! 

Thibaw Palace
Quite nondescript, the palace stands overlooking a vast expanse of open land. In comparison to the many palaces in India, this one may be bereft of any opulence, but its arched windows and wooden interiors give it a certain charm and certainly the palace merits a visit. The place was under repair and hence the scaffolding. 
It was built between 1910 and 1911 and had housed the Burmese King Thibaw and his Queen who were kept under house arrest here, the British having taken over Burma following its partition from India.
 
It seems the King was accorded the respect befitting a royalty. Tity, their great granddaughter is known to have married a local, named Shankar Rao Pawar and is supposed to have settled down in Ratnagiri!
 
Post lunch we visited a few more temples and hermitage of sages and our last halt was at Ratnadurg or Ratna Fort
 
 
 
Surrounded by the Arabian Sea on 3 sides, the fort offers a panoramic breathtaking view of the sea below!

 Ratnadurg also known as Bhagwati Durg, gets its name from the temple of Goddess Bhagawati.
Durg although refers to the feminine power or Goddess(Durga), the word ‘Durg’ literally translates to ‘Fort’!
 
After paying homage to the Goddess, we concluded out trip.
 
 

Best Time to Visit:-Post-monsoon is the best time to make a trip here, when torrential rains are replaced by soft drizzles that leave behind vast stretches of a verdant landscape and a stunning seascape.

 
 
Most hotels will not have an air-conditioner and this isn’t needed either.
 
 
 
When tranquility is the need of the hour and you just want to shut out the din of city life, delve deep into the depths of these serene unspoilt beaches of Ganpatipule and you’d surely emerge refreshed! 

Comments

  1. Rajesh

    Very nicely written…..

  2. Hello! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Hi there. Glad you enjoy my content. No, I’m not on Twitter as of now. Shall inform when i do decide to tweet. Until then, do browse through my other posts as well.

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